Monday, November 12

Into the Kitchen: Lane Cake

I'm in love with Lane. Edna Lewis' Lane Cake, that is, and I would go so far as to say no other cake compares.... It's perfect for the holidays. In fact, make it in advance and the taste & texture only get better with time. Really, given a week it's out of this world. And knowing the chef's story makes this confection all the more meaningful.


16 Tbsp (2 sticks) butter, room temperature, plus extra for pans
3 1/2 cups cake flour, plus extra for pans
1 Tbsp baking powder (or make it homemade by mixing 2 tsp cream of tartar and 1 tsp baking soda)
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups sugar
8 egg whites, room temperature (don't throw out the yokes!)

8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter
1 cup sugar
8 egg yolks
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup finely chopped dried apricots (I prefer these to Ms. Lewis' raisins)
1 1/4 cups shredded coconut
1/4 cup bourbon or Tennessee whiskey
1 tsp vanilla

Baking Needs:
3 9" round cake pans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter three pans, line with wax paper and flour.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In a glass measuring cup, combine milk and vanilla.

In an electric mixer, beat egg whites. I usually add a dash of cream of tartar to speed things up a bit. When stiff peaks have formed, transfer whites to another mixing bowl.

In the electric mixer bowl, beat butter until creamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk-vanilla mixture. Mix until combined.

With a spatula, mix in one-third of the egg whites to lighten the batter. Then, gently fold in the remaining two-thirds. It doesn't hurt to take your time with this part.

Scrape batter into three pans. Gently tap the pans on the counter to remove air bubbles. Bake 20-25 minutes. Let the cakes cool for 5 minutes and then turn out onto racks. Wait on removing the wax paper until completely cool.

To make the filling: Melt butter on low in a saucepan. Set aside 2-3 minutes to cool. Whisk in sugar and egg yolks. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly and scraping te bottom of the pan. The mixture should reach 170-180 degrees according to the recipe but mine was done around 150. Don't simmer, for sure. The glaze should coat the back of a spoon. When done, remove from heat and stir in pecans, dried fruit, coconut, bourbon and vanilla. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to thicken and chill.

To assemble the cake: Peel wax paper away and invert layers onto large cake plate. Top layer with 3/4 cup or so of filling and spread evenly to the edges. Do the same for the second and third layers. Spread remaining filling loosely over the outer edges.

My neighbor came over for a second piece today and, well, there's plenty to go around.

Oprah Magazine.)

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Thursday, November 8

Sweet Find: Jude Miller

There is something about the made flower that I just love. Like the Blaschkas' glass flowers at Harvard, Jude Miller works with another of the most delicate materials: paper. I am perpetually amazed. These blue columbine look as if they might just lift up, fly away....

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Monday, November 5

Great Book: Boy with Flowers

My good friend Ely Shipley's book of poems, Boy with Flowers, is coming out from Barrow Street and I am--this almost covers it--overjoyed about his good news! I can't wait to teach it.

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Sunday, November 4

One Great Garden Blog

I'm only just beginning to find my favorite blogs and this is my latest: Garden Rant. I love that these women are a collective (complete with manifesto), that they're sassy*, that they get their hands dirty talking about sustainability and organic method. (*See Licata's own blog for 'sweet potato porn'--yes, you read right.)

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